I’m a lifelong meditator. And yogi. And I love breathing exercises.
Sometimes I find the instruction to breathe deeply to be challenging, especially in moments when I feel hijacked by emotions. All I want to do is get away. And the breath invites me to stay. Stay?
With all this uncomfortable stuff I am trying to avoid? With these thoughts? Memories? Physical pain and agitation?
I sigh…yes. In manageable increments, of course. With gentleness. And love. And compassion.
Poet Jane Hirshfield writes, Attentiveness only deepens what it regards. Maybe by beginning, slowly, to breathe into difficult places, I can deepen my regard, my understanding, my forgiveness, my compassion.
The hiding away, the shutting down, the shortening of the breath causes so much pain.
In his “Sonnets to Orpheus”, Rilke asks us, what is the deepest loss you have suffered?
He invites us to look deep within ourselves. And find the life force, the beauty, the truth that has always been. He implores, let your presence ring out like a bell into the night…and if the earth no longer knows your name, whisper to the silent earth: I am flowing. I am.
Like the breath. Flowing. In and out, reminding us that we are. That we can, one breath at a time.